Council’s seal of approval for new planning guidelines

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 July 2016

The Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare.

The Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare.


Development in North Somerset will now be governed by a clear set of policies, after a plan which will guide development in the area was adopted by North Somerset Council this week.

The first part of the council’s sites and policies plan – known as the development management policies document – was submitted to a Government inspector for approval at the end of last year and, subject to some minor alterations, inspector David Smith ruled the plan was acceptable.

Although the plan does not set out where development in the district should take place, it outlines a set of rules which should be followed to ensure development is sensitive to the area’s needs.

A council spokesman said: “The plan sets out policies which will guide and manage new development within North Somerset.

“It contains policies which cover a broad range of development issues, including managing development in the countryside, major transport schemes, conservation areas, extensions to dwellings, retailing, accommodation for elderly people and design.”

Progress on the plan had been delayed due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the council’s core strategy document, which sets out how many new homes are to be built in North Somerset by 2026. This led the council to split the broader sites and policies plan into two parts, with the second part concerning specific sites for housing.

The council had originally stated in its core strategy planning document it aimed to build 14,000 homes between 2006 and 2026, but a legal challenge by Bristol University saw this number raised to almost 21,000.

This figure was challenged by Weston MP John Penrose and North Somerset MP Liam Fox, but housing minister Brandon Lewis decided at the end of last year – after six months of deliberation – that the upper target still stood.

The decision to adopt the development management policies was approved by North Somerset Council at its most recent meeting on Tuesday 26.

Deputy leader and executive member for housing, Elfan Ap Rees, said: “This is not specific site allocations – that is part two (of the plan), which is still going through the examination process.

“These are changes following the inspector’s recommendation.”

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